Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Fishing, Part 2

As a follow up to the Winter Fishing article, I'd like to mention a few other things I failed to mention.  The most important item I missed was how important it is to take extra clothes on your trip.  In the summer, cooling off by getting your hat or shirt wet is refreshing.  Landing a fish in the cold winter weather, can be  brutal.  I remove my gloves and carefully unhook the fish.  By getting my hands wet, and exposing them to the cold air and then having water run down your sleeve can be very unpleasant.  At the end of the day, wet clothes and wet skin is not fun.  Even worse, if you have leaky waders or happen to take a spill, and you don't have extra clothes, a wet trip home can be miserable.  Even worse, if you are out somewhere away from your vehicle and take a spill, you have to walk back to the car in the cold weather possibly putting your self at the risk of getting hypothermia.  Just remember how it feels when your hands get a little wet by releasing a few his.  I have been to the point where I cannot even tie knots or tie on new flies to my tippet.
Stolen picture from the web, but just to show you.  

Another thing to remember is that you should never wear cotton as a layer in your system.  Jeans are especially a no-no in the winter.  Just imaging getting them wet.  Jeans are hard enough to dry in the summer or in the dryer!  A t-shirt as a layer is also dangerous.  If you walk briskly, that shirt traps all of your body moisture and you get that cold, clammy feeling.  It will not dry out until you take it off.
Carrying 2 rods can be helpful for those days when you have to nymph in the morning and may need a dry fly rod just in case.  This is more helpful in the summer, but there are those times I wish I had a dry fly rod rigged, ready to go, just in case.
Another product that may be helpful to you is the little hand warmers that you can buy and stuff into your pockets and you can even get some toe warmers you can place in your boots to keep your toes warm.  I have had some good success with these stuffed into my waders, but remember that if you have to tight a boot, it is detrimental to what you are trying to accomplish.  Blood flow is what keeps your feet warm.  No blood=no fun.  Make sure to have room to wiggle your toes or anything you do to keep your feet warm, will backfire.  To sum it all up, use layers.  Synthetic base layers are best.  Fleece is your friend.  Down is warm and toasty, A Gore-Tex shell is worth a million bucks on some days, and Windstopper is a lways good to have when the wind is blowing.  Gloves, hats and layers are all you need to get out on the water and do some winter fishing.  A river that does not freeze up is also helpful.  Have fun and stay safe!
What the hell does he have in there?  Extra stuff!  

My buddy John with a Lake Trout.  Not all winter fishing is in the dead of the winter on on a river.  This was a cold October day fishing on a local Reservoir.  


  1. I like your idea about adding warmers to your boots. I never thought about that. Good post.

  2. No blood = no fun...

    Truer words have never been spoken!

    Cheers Juan!


  3. Nice follow up Juan. Do the chemical hand warmers work when there is limited O2? It seems like the boot shaped warmers for your feet would not work well in air tight waders. Just a thought.

    Extra clothes is something that most people don't think about. Since the car is close by. It only takes a few minutes to get hypothermia.

    Have a great Holiday, Jerry

  4. Jerry-When using toe warmers, you do have to let them get some oxygen before putting them in the closed air of your waders. I have failed at this and then you just have a lump of "sand" in your boots. Other times, you need to make sure your feet are going to be cold because your feet can get too hot and it's a pain to have to take them out!

  5. Added warmers to my boots once - felt like I was walking on hot coals for a bit. Uncomfortable experience, to say the least, and it's not something I'll ever do again. Electric socks might be cool, though...

  6. I have never tried the foot warmers. My feet are usually cold so I never think about my feet being too hot. I have heard of guys using the electric socks. They might be easier to control the heat.

    Is that John Gordon in the last picture? I haven't seen him since last February at the West Denver Fly Tying event. I bet he will have a fly rod in his baby's hands soon. Jerry

  7. Yes that is John Gordon in the last two pictures...and the Extra stuff in the back pack is extra clothes, lunch, and miscellanious fishing gear (reel with different types of lines and fly boxes). Extra dry clothes are important if you fall in a mile from the car you may end up dead from hypothermemia.

    John G.

  8. Cool...I wasn't sure I could actually post to this blog without signing up (I don't do facebook, Twitter, etc)...I will just post anonymous.

    Forgot to add to the previous post. I also carry a first aid kit in my backpack.

    One last note: Constantine (14 months old now) is doing great. We have done some flase casting, but having problems with the double haul (just kidding).

    Take Care,
    John Gordon

  9. a large number of remarkable blogging site online casino